Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rain, Leaf blowers, Squeegees and a Show


The world got a little smaller for us this August 18, 2017 when we partnered with Dove Westgate Church in Pennsylvania for a community outreach at the old train station in cute downtown Ephrata. Outreach organizers from Dove Westgate had participated in the same YWAM ministry at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland the past few years with us and had the idea to bring us in for their local event. It was almost overwhelming to reunite with so many whom we've only seen in Switzerland.

Rain was in the forecast on August 18th so we were all watching the weather closely. Indoor options were not available so organizers made the call to proceed in faith that the show could go on. We arrived several hours prior to the event to set up. Almost immediately, torrential rains and wind put a halt on progress. We waited out the rain until it seemed all was clear. We began to set up equipment while others swept, squeegeed and used leaf-blowers to dry off the pavement. Things were starting to dry when another rain dumped on us.

After a second round of sweeping, squeegeeing and blowing, the pavement was nearly dry and ready for the UniShow. Several hundred came to the event and enjoyed food and music from the church, along with the UniShow.

Despite the stress surrounding the show, we are thankful for the opportunity to share in the Ephrata, PA community. Afterward several individuals talked to Dustin at length, thanking him for his message and testimony that hit them right in the heart.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hombro a Hombro 2017

Every 3 years our home church Grace Church Eden Prairie leads an exciting outreach in Lima Peru, serving hombro a hombro (shoulder to shoulder) with the Callao Church.  This was Dustin's 7th and Katie's 5th time on this outreach.  From 22-30 July 2017 our team of 100 from America joined several hundred Peruvians as we shared the love of Jesus in Lima and Callao.  

In these 7 days we presented to 7,350 people in 15 events.  Through the various outreaches, our team saw over 1,450 people indicate decisions to follow Jesus!  We had a full schedule with a parade to start the week out followed by multiple shows a day in different locations.

Through singing, dumpster drumming, kids games, dramas and of course unicycling, we presented the Gospel in parks, streets, a medical rehab center, church festivals, soccer fields and hospitals.

In addition to the performances, teams painted homes and prayed with their owners.  Others hosted a marriage seminar for couples and a day of events for kids with special needs.  Skilled doctors performed 50 complicated surgerys, as others on the medical team cared for hundreds of sick people.  Every act of love and service was accompanied with prayer and sharing of the Gospel.

New brothers in Christ!
It was great to reconnect with friends we've made over the past 18 years.  It's always fun to see other young unicyclists at the Callao church who have been inspired by Dustin.  As we have in other years, we left some unicycles for others to continue to learn.  

We praise God for the soft hearts He prepared in Peru and for the many people who chose to surrender their lives to Him.  We rejoice with the angels!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Chocolate, Cheese & Jazz

We joined a team of 100 people from 20 nations in Switzerland for outreaches at the 51st Montreux Jazz Festival. This Regeneration outreach began 10 years ago by a small team from YWAM Lausanne and has grown into a powerful presence at the Jazz Festival.

From July 2-15, 2017 we shared the love of Jesus with people from all over the world. Our team played music, danced, unicycled and acted on 3 different stages throughout the festival, all along beautiful Lac Lèman where vendors and buskers busied crowds.

The original "stage" of Regeneration is next to the Bible Kiosk which is a permanent fixture in Montreux and open year round. The driveway to the Euro Hotel right in front of this Kiosk provided a nice open space for our performances. We were interrupted only occasional by a car driving into the underground hotel parking. We also sometimes had to work around handicap vehicles parking in the nearby spots.

TrEd making noise for Jesus.

The Covered Market, or Marchè Couvert in French, is the other venue we presented in each night. At the end of the length of the festival, and elevated just off the beaten path it was difficult to draw crowds at times but the roof did allow us to continue performing and sharing even on rainy days.

MoMo the Eskimo wows crowds with her unicycles, too!
During the middle weekend of the Jazz Festival we were able to use a great stage out in the thick of things where we drew the largest crowds.

Luzanne lighting up the skies with her ribbon dance.

We personally had the privilege of meeting and praying with many families vacationing from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, a lady from Egypt, a clown from Italy, Syrian refugees, local Swiss people, a couple from our hometown Edina, guys from New York, England, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan and Russia, to name a few.

Throughout these 2 weeks, our team gave out 120 Bibles in many languages, distributed refreshments, prayed with 325 people, painted faces, manned bouncy castles and much more. The best part was that almost 40 people prayed to surrender their lives to Jesus for the first time! We are so thankful for this amazing opportunity to share God's love with so many people and we pray seeds scattered will turn into much fruit.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

JazzerCycle Roadshow hits Kyrgyzstan

Moving right along from Albania via Turkey, we landed in Kyrgyzstan, joining a couple from Australia and 6 others from the arts team in Istanbul for 2 weeks of outreach. This was our 5th time ministering in Kyrgyzstan but first time in the southern, more unreached Osh region where people are more devout. Laws are strict preventing anyone from sharing their faith in a public setting.

From June 8-18 our team of 10 presented our JazzerCycle Roadshow to 2,470 people in 12 events. With Jazz music, unicycling, dance and drama we creatively shared a message of hope and encouragement to our audiences. Usually we could not talk about God from the stage but we were able to share openly one on one and pray with people.

Three of our shows were in the Jalal-Abad region. For each of these shows we jostled along potholed roads for 6 to 8 nauseating hours round-trip from Osh. We presented in 2 city squares 3 times and invited people to a follow-up meeting after the third show.

After our first show, the pastor and church members were gushing with excitement. They were so thankful the city could see "Christians presenting such a wonderful, beautiful, professional show". They sensed Dustin's sharing was from his heart and saw girls crying, overcome with emotion as Katie danced. Though we were very restricted in what we could share, the pastor's friend who's been in prison 7 times and was recently released gave his life to Jesus that night!

After our third show in Jalal-Abad, a guy came up to Katie saying, "You have a positive in your life. Pray for me to have that positive, too." Then a lady asked, "Is there a reason you do these shows?" Through these conversations we were able to share about the Hope that we have in Jesus.

From Osh, we drove through the village of Communism to get to Uch-Korgon for a special show at an orphanage. Dustin shared with the kids that God is a Father who loves them and will never leave them.

Then we had 3 shows for students. Two of them were 5 blocks from Uzbekistan in a village called VLKSM (stands for All-Union Leninist Young Communist League).

Unfortunately, one of our audiences was 200 preschoolers who came crying, cried throughout our show, then left crying. They didn't understand why their breakfast was interrupted to come out and sit in the hot sun for an hour. It was a new, almost comical experience for us to hear their dull wailing fill the school courtyard. All was not in vain however, since hundreds of mothers also came and listened intently to the message.

After each of the schools shows, our local partners handed out Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to the kids.

A local English club ministry invited us to join their informal cafe meeting 3 afternoons where we had the opportunity to share testimonies and the Gospel with students.

To wrap things up, we did a show in a church where we could share openly. This was a last minute event so wasn't very well attended but thankfully at least 10 non-believers came and heard the Gospel as Dustin shared then led in a prayer of surrender to Jesus. We were also able to encourage and pray with many new believers.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Albania WhAM! Tour 2017

We called ourselves the WhAM! Tour because we had Wheels, Aerial acts and Music (punctuated with dance!).  From 18-30 May 2017, our TACO (Turkey AfriAsia Creative Outreach) group of 9 from Korea, Canada, Australia and America traveled around Albania performing and sharing the Good News.

Though Albania was declared 100% atheist in 1967, it is now wide open with freedom of religion. God is on the move in Albania and His church is growing. Since Albania is not new territory for TACO, each time we return we see young churches maturing which we've helped start. They are now planting others and there is always new vision for more. It is a privilege to partner in this endeavor. We again worked with an Albanian pastor and church planter who is well connected across the country.

In the city of Kavajë we presented for TACO's 3rd time. Past audiences have been resistant or apathetic. Believers have been working in this city for a few years and were finally ready to launch a church. Our presentation helped promote and announce the first service a few days later. We learned that 15 people came to the first meeting and are now involved in a discipleship program.

In Maliq the local pastor was surprised to see how well our team cooperated with each other, being from different nations. He thought the testimonies were great, appreciated how we really connected with the people and was glad the city could see good Christian art. Apparently they are already asking when we'll be back. Others thanked us for coming saying no one ever comes to Albania to perform these things.

The band sang a song in Albanian. It was a crowd favorite, resulting in the audience clapping and bursting into traditional dances as they sang along.

Joel wowed the crowds with his aerial acts and would always receive gasps and applause when he included in his testimony that he is almost 58 years old.

People liked David's dancing so much they asked for lessons after the show. 

Whenever Dustin would return to the stage with his unicycles, cheers would erupt from his many fans.

In each show Dustin gave a clear Gospel presentation and led in a prayer of surrender to Jesus.

We performed 9 shows this tour for over 3,000 people and saw at least 245 indicate they were surrendering their lives to Jesus for the first time. We were thankful that only one show was cancelled due to rain. Several other times rain stopped just before or started when we were nearly done performing.

Please pray for:
- The new church in Kavajë to grow and thrive.
- Churches we partnered with across Albania as they follow-up with interested people.
- The church in Maliq who is building a new ministry complex to care for street kids.